Which came first,
the chicken
the chicken,
the egg
the egg?

“Pass the Tabasco,”
Buddha said.
“By the way, where’s your bowl?”

“In the cupboard, Noble One.
Giving it a rest today.
I’ve got a lot on my
plate to contemplate.”

“The chicken and the egg?”

“No, I mean my personal
idiomatic plate, loaded with
postherpetic neuralgia.”

“Post what?”

“Herpetic neuralgia,
a form of strong, ongoing
nerve pain that can come
with a shingles attack.”

“Bhikkhu, how is it that I,
the Awakened One,
having gone through
all the forms I’ve experienced in
countless lifetimes, would be
unaware of warring shingles?
But be as it may,
go at once to the roof and
make peace with the shingles.”

“Uh, not that kind of shingles,
Noble One. I mean—”

“Then go higher still,
all the way up the mountain!
Take the Unborn with you
and unmind yourself
of all that troubles you. Let your
pain drift with the swirling
clouds you climb into.
And from the summit drop your
chicken and egg conundrum.
By the time you get back,
the fox will have cleaned your plate
and your entire coop.”

Image credit:Kaci Kellman

I was born in Kansas near a wheat field and a crow. After graduating from college, I moved east in search of tall trees and high humidity. I sampled the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions before finding the Southeast most to my liking. There I met the loves of my life, Bronia and the children we gave birth to, Bud and Ruby. At the University of South Carolina, I was fortunate to step into a lovable career in ESL teaching and teacher training. Since retiring in 2011, I’ve focused on caregiving my parents and furthering my writing practice. My indie poetry books include Recipes for Gratitude, Flowers Grow Wild, Full Moon Story Night, and Aaliyah on the Road.